Inn Bin

From the Inn Bin: New York’s YOTEL

(Inn Bin posts share things I’ve enjoyed at some places I’ve had the good fortune to stay.)

If you’ve spent some time at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, or at Heathrow or Gatwick Airport in London then perhaps you’ve already seen or spent some time at a Yotel.

These are affordable, short-stay hotels (minimum booking is four hours) located inside the airport terminals with small cabin-like rooms that are perfect for napping, working, showering and just resting between flights. While short on space, the rooms have the essentials: a comfortable bed, free Wi-Fi, a good shower, a small desk, complimentary hot drinks and a flat-screen TV.

I stayed for a few hours at the Heathrow Yotel a few years back after an overnight flight from Seattle that arrived in London at 6 a.m. and then headed into town for a full day of business meetings and touring feeling very civilized and unrumpled.

yotel heathrow

Single cabin at the Heathrow Yotel.

Spending a few hours in a tiny hotel room at an airport is one thing, but I wondered if staying in a room at the off-airport Yotel in New York City would feel claustrophobic.

It was fine.

Yotel Room mockup, June 2010 Designed by Rockwell group, NY

The Yotel in New York City is not far from Times Square, Madison Square Garden and the Port Authority bus terminal. After checking in at the ground level “Mission Control,” where a “Yobot” stays busy storing luggage in cubicles, guests go to the fourth floor, where there are bars, a restaurant (where the complimentary morning muffins are served), a large outdoor terrace and some public seating areas. The rooms are on the floors above.

Yotel patio

Outdoor terrace at Yotel in New York City. Photo by Harriet Baskas

The “cabins” at the New York City Yotel are 30% larger than those at the airport properties – but at 170 square feet a basic “premium” cabin was still quite small. Still, it has all the essentials: a bed that folds up into a futon-like couch during the day and – at the press of a button – extends flat for sleeping, a tiny desk with a chair, a large flat screen TV, a shelf and a bar to hang clothing from, free Wi-Fi and a floor-to-ceiling window.

The bathroom area of the room has a curtain, but no door, although there’s a partially opaque glass door you can pull closed if you’re sharing the room and want a bit of privacy in the toilet or the shower.

(Rates usually start at $199; which seems reasonable compared with what you’ll pay for other hotel in New York City).

There’s a hip vibe at the hotel, but not so hip that you’ll feel you’ll need to be all pretty and dressed up to go grab that complimentary morning muffin.

Here’s another hip and fun new offering at the Yotel in New York City: this summer staff will be surprising some guests with complimentary “Only in New York” tours (value $65).

Tours to where? That’s a surprise: up to two dozen people will be taken on a two hour adventure somewhere in the city. Find more details about the Only in NY tours here.

Yotel robot

Rooms are small, so it’s nice that the Yotel’s Yobot will store luggage. Photo by Harriet Baskas


(My stay at the Yotel in New York City was at a reduced rate; opinions and impressions are very much my own.)